When we arrived in Santorini via ferry, we were running late. We had missed the first ferry that day from Mykonos because we had insisted on watching the sun rise from the Cavo Paradiso, cabbing home at 9 a.m. We arrived and caught a ride up up up from the new port, across the island toward Oia. The way that the vaulted little stone buildings dot the tip of Oia, we could only catch glimpses of the last of the buttery yellow sun against the buildings.
“Go now, you’re in the best spot to catch the sunset, and its just starting!”
Markos and his wife insisted that we drop our bags there on the patio, and run down the path toward the very tip of the village.
And then there we were.
Sunset in Santorini is truly a tourist spectacle.
Throngs and throngs of tourists crowded into any view space along the pathways winding up and over the hills looking out over Oia, watching, milling around with lovers, spouses, children, friends. Fiddling with cameras. Drinking whatever wine and eating whatever pastries they’d carried up the pathway from the main part of the village as they wait, eyes half affixed on the absolutely breathtaking view.
Cliffs, jutting out in shadow from the deep blue of the water, half of the sky bathed in blue and the other half glowing in gold. And what sounded like one itinerant conversation buzzing up and down the many paths as everyone watched and waited.
One of the most beautiful places to watch the sun set in the world. Surely.
Just ask these people.
And after the minutes dripped by with the sun suspended just over the water, looking like an egg yolk about to break at any minute but seemingly not moving an inch–it began to slide. All of the tourists, dotted along every open view space on every pathway at the very tip of Oia, collectively breathed in.
And as the last hint of yellow slid into the sea, all the people, hundreds of them, covering every pathway on every hillside across the cliffs of Oia, broke out into a thunderous applause. I beamed, and clapped loudly as I watched the whole spectacle.
There is something about watching the sun set over Santorini with thousands of others that makes you feel human. For ten seconds maybe, you feel on the edge of the Earth, with so many others, positively dumbfounded by humanity’s relative smallness and collectivity in the face of something greater.